Why SQL Is Here to Stay

December 6, 2013

As the makers of a SQL-on-Hadoop database, it will come as no surprise that the Splice Machine team is a big fan of SQL. Sure, SQL has its idiosyncrasies but we believe that SQL will continue to be the go-to query language for relational database management systems, even as databases grow past gigabytes into terabytes and petabytes of data (which we can help with…).

Why do we feel this way? We can summarize our loyalty for SQL with one word: ubiquity.

SQL has long been the query language leader. Although there are different dialects of SQL, the differences are not significant and as such, a great majority of data analysts and developers are trained in its use. Most companies have many SQL applications in use already, such as ERP systems, CRM systems, e-commerce applications, personalized marketing apps, and custom-built apps, plus companies make extensive use of Business Intelligence (BI) tools like Tableau® and MicroStrategy®, or SQL tools such as Toad® and DbVisualizer™. This can make it difficult and cost-prohibitive to move to a new non-SQL database.

There are many reasons why SQL is the de facto standard. As a declarative language, it is easy to specify the results you want without the complexity of having to specify how to get and process that data. No procedural programming is necessary. Queries have simple syntax that even non-technical people can master, and can be saved and reused easily. SQL can simplify development by providing a consistent view of the data with reliable updates (ACID – Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability). It also has pre-built security with table and column level access control. Without SQL, you need programmers to provide these services for each complicated query, report or application.

Even with its admitted faults and areas where improvement is possible, we expect that SQL will continue to be the standard data language well into the foreseeable future and we will continue to support it here at Splice Machine.